:: trivia retrieved ::

Banana money and banana republic

Is there a connection between ‘banana money’ and ‘banana republic’?

No actual connection, I think.

Banana moneyThe term ‘banana money’ refers to the currency notes issued during the Japanese Occupation. The notes had no serial numbers. These currency notes had pictures of bananas on it, hence the name. Of course, towards the end of the Occupation with the Japanese losing the war the banana money dropped rapidly in value and ‘banana money’ became an uncomplimentary term.

Likewise, the term ‘banana republic’ is not a complimentary term. It refers to the countries (republics) in Central America which switched their agricultural efforts to growing bananas to export to USA. Their exports, and consequently income and revenue, depended substantially on the demand for bananas in the USA. Thus, a ‘banana republic’ is therefore not a strong independent country.

In defence of the banana I must say that, today, the banana is held in high regard as a health food. (Have you noticed the tennis stars having a banana during the rest breaks in a tough game?) So, if you tell a fitness fanatic that you have ‘gone bananas’ he might turn around and congratulate you on your change of eating habits!

Banana Money (Japanese Occupation Currency, circa 1942 - 1945)

Re-trievia recalled: Excerpts from Year 2002
Tan Wee Kiat


Written by Ivan Chew

30 November, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Posted in Year 2002

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